Radio signal 9 billion light years away: what it means and where it came from
A radio signal nearly 9 billion light-years away from Earth was captured in a new image detected by India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope.
McGill University said in a press release that this was the first time this type of radio signal had been detected at such a great distance. Space.com reported that the signal could mean scientists can start investigating some of the earliest stars and galaxies.
This isn’t the first time scientists have mysterious signal from space.
Last July, astronomers from MIT and other universities in the US and Canada discovered a persistent signal from a distant galaxy of unknown astrophysical origin, and in 2020, a mysterious signal from Proxima Centauri created waves.
But do these signals mean we’re not alone? The answer at the moment is no – although an intentional signal has been sent to space.
That’s what researchers said in 2021 according to Nature the Proxima Centauri signal was probably “man-made radio interference” and the source of the “rapid radio burst” signal was suspected to be a radio pulsar or a magnetar, both types of neutron stars.
“There aren’t many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” Daniele Michilli, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said at the time. “Examples we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a radiant emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”
In this most recent case, the properties of the signal indicate that it originated from gaseous neutral hydrogen in a star-forming galaxy called “SDSSJ0826+5630”.
McGill said the signal was broadcast from the galaxy when the universe was only 4.9 billion years old.
“It’s the equivalent of looking back in time 8.8 billion years,” Arnab Chakraborty, a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University, said in a statement.
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